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Showing posts from March, 2021

PowKiddy RGB10 Max Launching Mid April

Out of nowhere, PowKiddy sent info to Retro Dodo indicating that they have designed an upgraded version of the PowKiddy RGB 10 and are calling it the RGB 10 Max. Personally I was hoping for an upgrade to the RGB 20 but this is still interesting and unexpected news.  According to Retro Dodo's info this new 5" handheld will come in Black and Bright Orange as the color options.  Basically an Odroid Go Super Clone this is yet another RK3326 chip handheld.  If build quality is better than the original RGB10 it could still be a competitor though. I'm not too interested myself as I'm already well stocked in RK3326 devices (lol) but I'll keep an eye on this one.  Check out the article on RD for more info:  https://retrododo.com/rgb10-max/

Intellivision Amico Has Potential...

I'm often skeptical about consoles that aren't out yet especially ones that involved crowdfunding or a lot of pre-orders.  As someone who has kept an eye on crowdfunded consoles for a long time I can definitely say for every crowdfunded console that worked out, there are a lot that simple don't.   What's interesting about the Intellivision Amico is that I found myself thinking the same things that I thought about the Nintendo Wii before it was released.  For the record, I thought the Wii would be a failure and I deservedly got dragged for that and I turned out to be very wrong.  For a multitude of reasons, I find myself thinking that the Amico may end up more like the Wii than anything else.  As we all remember the Nintendo Wii caught on fire as the living room family console.  The marketing for the Amico is unmistakably very similar to that vibe and it may be coming out at the perfect time when home and retro gaming has picked up a lot of extra interest during the pand

Is Nintendo Killing Mario?

https://www.cnn.com/2021/03/31/tech/super-mario-bros-death-rumors/index.html Even CNN is jumping in on the panicked idea that there is impending death for Mario but I think it's pretty silly.  What Nintendo is doing is a classic marketing gimmick making certain products seem more exclusive and rare.  After March 31, 2021, Super Mario 3D All-Stars and Super Mario Bros. 35 will no longer be available on the shop for the Nintendo Switch as previously stated.   The belief that this could be the end of Mario for Nintendo is borderline ludicrous.  Nintendo doesn't seem to have any plans to kill off Mario.  I could be wrong but as a Marketing guy I'm pretty sure this is just a very old strategy of marketing exclusivity to drive sales.  It worked for Disney back in the day with home movie releases so it will likely work here.   Knowing Nintendo, there's almost certainly some plan for both games already in place for the future.  Nintendo has a reputation of keeping secrets reall

PowKiddy RGB20 vs Anbernic RG351V Size Comparison

The RG351V is certainly a beast. I remember when people said the RGB20 was big (lol).  The RG351V obviously knocks the RGB20 out of the water in every measurable category other than perhaps looks. Aesthetics-wise the RGB20 is more eye catching. It's a true shame the build quality was not very good.  One thing I do like about the RGB20 that I wish Anbernic had done was the offset thumb-stick. There's really no competition between these two but I thought I'd post a size comparison shot.  Despite being a low quality build and other issues I actually plan to still use the RGB20 a bit. 

RG351V Review (With Stock Firmware)

  (RG351V) $108.99 Released 3/8/2021 The RG351V aka "Wood Boy" is Anbernic's latest SBC handheld offering and it's a good one despite being yet another RK3326 chip device... *This post includes some photos I took of the device mixed with stock images Anbernic used for marketing. There are no referral links here and this post is 100% my own personal non influenced opinions.  My Verdict: Guilty of Being a Must Have Handheld  Overall Score 9/10   Making it the best RK3326 device I own and has replaced the Retroid Pocket 2 (Which I rated as an 8.5/10) as my favorite budget handheld.  As it stands, the RP2 is still a better option for N64, Dreamcast and DS emulation but that could change with CFW options.  The Good  Build Quality Amazing 4:3 Display That Looks Great Great Nearly Flawless Emulation Up to PSX Great Vertical Form Factor Comfortable for Big Hands Drastically Better Battery Performance than the 351P The Bad  Few Minor Design Flaws Only O

RG-351V SNES Screen Options (Stock Firware) Setup

Mostly a settings guide for beginners who have not been a around EmuElec and RetroArch for long.  The bright 4:3 screen on the RG-351V is near perfect for retro gaming on the go. What a lot of people don't realize is that the original Super Nintendo (SNES) had a native 8:7 aspect ratio that some developers accounted for the 4:3 aspect televisions at the time but most didn't. Even Nintendo didn't account for it on some major titles which is why you had "squishy" looking characters and items in some games.  Running SNES games on the 351V with no settings changes honestly looks great on full screen so tweaking the settings is mostly a matter of preference.  Setting the system to run at 8:7 Pixel Perfect really makes the square pixels pop and look better than the original but they might pop a bit too much (contrast) for some people and it gives you a more pronounced black space around games.  The best overall setting that seems to work great for all games I found was

RG-351V Emulation Performance Notes (Stock Firmware)

*Note: this post is from my initial impressions not definitive analysis* I have put the RG-351V from Anbernic through a gauntlet of emulation testing and can say I'm very pleased with this system even using the stock setup. This will only get better from here as custom firmware options increase... These are my semi-arbitrary 0-10 scale opinions of emulation performance with notes below the lists:  Scores Based on Experience with stock firmware and available settings tweaks with that.   Game Boy 10/10 Game Boy Color 10/10 Game Boy Advance 9/10* Virtual Boy 7/10 Game & Watch 9/10 Nintendo DS - 5/10* NES - 10/10 Famicon Disk System 10/10 SNES - 10/10 N64 - 6/10* (Nintendo DS performance isn't too bad honestly but the ugly slapped togetter version of DraStic ruins the experience. N64 Emulation is very hit or miss. If I was in it just for single screen DS emulation or 64 in this price range the Retroid Pocket 2 is still the budget answer for those)... (Despite not be

Pre-Installed ROMs on Retro Handhelds Needs to Stop

The majority of retro handhelds from overseas come with pre-installed ROMs as part of the marketing sales pitch and that needs to stop at some point.  Game system emulation on its own is a legally protected right and brings many benefits to the community such as preserving video game history,  giving open source developers an arena to display their programming skills and ways to play games you already own in different ways.  It's also a great arena for homebrew and independent games creating an opportunity for almost anyone to create their own games.  Anbernic, PowKiddy and all the well known manufacturers and distributors of these devices do it and hopefully they will discontinue the practice at some point as it jeopardizes the hobby in the long run.  Here's an excellent article concerning the legality of distributing ROMs:  https://www.howtogeek.com/262758/is-downloading-retro-video-game-roms-ever-legal/ Laws concerning copyright certainly change from location to

Anbernic RG351V Hanging on 0% Save State and Crashing (Stock Firmware) Semi-Fix

Update to the problem below courtesy an easy but overlooked fix brought up in the Reddit forums. It was as simple as running all the resets in the Danger Zone settings. Now saves games fine on the external. *There are reports of losing files this way and issues I didn't have so make sure to make a backup of the stock SD image before trying this.  I'm enjoying the day I've had with the RG-351V so far but have run into some issues with the stock firmware so far. I like to test everything out on the stock setup before moving over to custom firmwares.  One issue I came across was when attempting to save state in games is the save state would hang at 0% and then crash the system as soon soon as you close content and exit RetroArch (particularly with GBA).  In game saves would also not take.  What I discovered was that this only occurs when running games off the external micro SD slot. If you run everything including all ROMs off the internal, that issue g

Upcoming Nintendo Switch Releases - April, 2021

Nothing for me this month but April releases on the Switch aren't terrible... The headliner is definitely New Pok√©mon Snap.  While the Nintendo Switch is a "modern" console I consider it to be an excellent retro gaming option as the library is already loaded with great options from the past. It's a great blend of old and new on the go. If you aren't worried about bricking a system they can be hacked too... Next month there are 4 noteworthy games hitting the Switch library: Star Wars Republic Commando   April 6 $14.99 Republic Commando is a tactical FPS game that originally came out the Xbox and Windows back in 2005. I thought the game was decent but not great. I'd probably give it a 70/100 score if I was reviewing it. The sequel to the game was canceled and never made. It's definitely worth playing for the story (despite no longer being Canon thanks to the Disney overlords) but I don't think I'd pay $14.99. Despite being a big Star Wars

End of Month Gaming Pick-Ups: Retro Gaming Is A Seller's Market

 Not a lot going on with my collecting this month.  Vintage prices are high so I'm not collecting much at this time.  Still trying to get my hands on an RG351V to test.  This was definitely not good shipping luck for me this month.   Ordered a couple cheap USB controllers (modernized N64 style and Gamecube style) but that's really about it. For the most part outside generic stuff this has been a real seller's market when it comes to retro gaming during the pandemic.  Prices on old systems and games have gone up considerably making collecting harder but selling a lot easier.  With social distancing safety and things like that going on, I really haven't ventured out to my usual stores or places to look for gaming stuff as well.  In addition to vintage/retro games consoles and games booming, the market for SBC retro handheld consoles mostly out of China have really boomed in the past year as well. It's a pretty exciting time for that although a lot of the systems comin

Games I'm Playing This Week

What I'm Playing This Week  I'm often bouncing around from device to device playing a wide array of games (retro and modern) each week.  It's been a bit of a busy week so far so haven't got a ton of games in.  I had planned on reviewing the RG351V that I ordered on the 7th but here we are 18 days later and I still don't have it.  It's apparently sitting at some distribution center in Kentucky now.  I think I'm done with anything that ends up in DHL's hands that's important.  They are the absolute worst.  For the most part, I'm playing Persona 5 Strikers on the Nintendo Switch each day.  That's a game I bought just because it was Persona but thought I wouldn't like it despite being a big fan of both Persona and Dynasty Warriors.  Surprisingly I actually love the game. I'm only 12 hours of gameplay in so have quite a ways to go.   The retro game I'm playing this week is Star Wars: Shadows of the Empire on the Nintendo 64 (N64).  The

Persona 5 Strikers: Easy is WAY too Easy.

Been playing most of my Persona 5 Strikers playthrough on Normal difficulty so far but decided to do a few battles on Easy but honestly Easy is way too Easy. Battles can easily be won on Easy just mindlessly pressing random buttons. Unless you are very bad at video games Easy make the game almost pointless. Normal isn't too tough either but you do have to use strategy and good gameplay on Normal. They probably should have labeled Easy as WAY Easy.  I've put about 10 hours into the game so far and am ready to switch things over to Hard to see how that goes.  Posted a quick gameplay clip video on my Twitter:  https://twitter.com/RKezins/status/1374841531505405954?s=19 I always follow back legit accounts on Twitter so feel free to follow me on there. 

Aya Neo PS2 Emulation Video (YouTube)

The Phawx posted an interesting video testing out 12 Playstation 2 games on the portable Aya-Neo. Hit the link below for the video:  https://youtu.be/xeYmIKqNpag To me it looks pretty smooth for PS2 on the go. Emulation had definitely come a long way in the past few years. The Aya-Neo certainly isn't cheap but good things rarely are. I may eventually get one or one of the future upgrades we know are probably coming but it's currently a bit out of my budget with my hands tied up in so many other things.  Hit the link below for more information on this very powerful handheld.  https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/aya-neo-world-s-first-7nm-handheld-gaming-device--2

Game Boy Advance Turned 20 Yesterday

Hard to believe the Game Boy Advance (GBA) was released 20 years ago today in North America by Nintendo.  Of all the portable consoles over the years it definitely had the best overall library of games in my opinion.  With Retro Gaming and retro console modding more popular than ever,  the Game Boy Advance and Game Boy Advance SP are currently in high demand.  The lifespan of the console was 2001-2010 selling over 81.5 million units as part of the 6th generation of consoles which was a long run for a portable system. 

Crysis 2 Turns 10 Years Old Tomorrow

Hard to believe but Crysis 2 turns 10 years old tomorrow . Released on March 22, 2011 for the Playstation 3, Xbox 360 and Windows it was an instant classic although flawed in ways.  The single player campaign was long and interesting but flawed by not so great AI enemies.  Multi-player was pretty good, visuallt it looked great and the combat was fast as well making it one of the better FPS games at the time.  Crysis 2 on Metacritic   Crysis 2 was developed by Crytek and published by EA and sold over 3 million copies in the first year.  Crysis 2 Info on Wikipedia   I'm not sure if we can consider Crysis 2 to be far "retro" or not but it was released on two consoles that are no longer supported which does put it slightly into the retro genre. Supposedly Crysis 4 is supposed to be released in the near future.    https://thesportsrush.com/crytek-is-all-set-to-release-the-new-crysis-4/

King of Fighters R-2 (NGPC) Today in Gaming History

King of Fighters R-2 Neo Geo Pocket Color SNK of America Definitely one of the top ten NEO Geo Pocket Color games was King of Fighters R-2 which was released 22 years ago today in the US. With console modding and retro/vintage gaming gaining in popularity the NGPC has increased in demand recently. You can still pick one up in varying degrees of used condition between $80 and $120. Modded versions with backlit displays tend to go for over $300.  The original price between 1999 and 2001 (short lifespan) was $69.95.  If you sadly don't have a NGPC console the game did become available on the Nintendo Switch last year as a digital download for $7.99 (perhaps a bit steep for an old game). It currently sits on a 71/100 Metascore but don't let the average reviews fool you.  For a 22 year old portable fighting game it has a pretty solid fighting system and has aged well.  Despite being a 2-button game from 1999, it was well designed with full combo attacks, evas

Capcom Tweets Statement on Racism

Old school and modern video game company Capcom has issued a statement regarding racism against Asian people. Hate crimes in the US against Asian citizens has drastically increased over the past year and it needs to be addressed and not ignored as it usually is historically.  https://twitter.com/CapcomUSA_/status/1372590186299715584?s=19 This is in response to the racially motivated shooting spree that occurred in Georgia. The United States is in a position where racism and extreme violence needs to be addressed.  https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2021/03/17/georgia-spa-shooter-robert-aaron-long-sex-addiction/4741925001/

Today in Gaming History - Warriors: Legends of Troy (Xbox 360/PS3)

Ten years ago today, Warriors: Legends of Troy came out on the Xbox 360 (and PS3).  This was around the time I got out of game writing but was still gaming a lot. This game brings to mind the disservice to gaming a lot of game review outlets were doing during that era where highly anticipated games were almost always overrated and smaller niche games like this were trashed by the game media.  Warriors: Legends of Troy was a perfect example of the game reviewers hammering a game for taking risks and that's why a lot of game companies are afraid to take risks. After the smoke settled with reviews, the game currently sits at a 44/100 Metascore which to me is pretty disgusting. If I had reviewed the game it would have been closer to a 70.  It had flaws but it wasn't a terrible game. The user score is a 7.3/10 which is more realistic. Reviews are obviously very subjective but they were particularly biased towards big budget marketing during the PS3/360 era. 

Hidden Gem: Tricky Kick (TG16)

I stumbled across a unique and somewhat bizarre TurboGrafx-16 puzzler called 'Tricky Kick' (Turbo Chip) recently. I vaguely recall watching people play it back in the day. The game was developed by Alpha System and published by Information Global Service for the NEC TurboGrafx-16 and PC Engine in 1990/1991.  What first appears to just be a goofy poorly translated PC Engine game quickly turns into a fairly challenging puzzle game. While obviously a translated game for whatever reason the North American version came out in 1990 and the Japsnese version was released in 1991.  In essence it's a pretty basic match 2 puzzle game where you move animals or monsters (by kicking them) in straight lines navigating obstacles until you figure out a way to match them which removes the pair from the board. I don't think the premise of kicking animals around the forest would go over too well nowadays and shouldn't but the game is fun if you ignor

RG351V $95.99 on BangGood

Not sure how legit the listing is on BangGood . Is hard to verify who is selling the item on BG sometimes but the RG351V is now as low as $95.99 + 4.09 shipping. That puts it about $9 cheaper than directly from Anbernic. Might be worth looking into considering they do have decent customer service.